Vadim Tabakman

Goodbye SharePoint 2010 Workflows Online

You may have seen this message popup in your SharePoint Online environment.

There was a time when a lot of the current SharePoint Online customers, were actually on-prem.  As they started to see the benefits to moving their operations online, they needed a quick migration.  Minimal time and resources, which included, moving across processes.  Some of those process were built out using SharePoint Designer.  You had 2 options of the type of workflow to build.  SharePoint 2010 (legacy) or SharePoint 2013 (workflow manager).

With the 1st of Novermber, 2020 getting closer and closer, it's important to understand your SharePoint Online environment, know what kind of workflows you have, and chose your path forward.  As of this post, there's around 35 days left.  What is your plan to move your workflows over?

First step, is to figure out where and what kind of workflows you have.  Microsoft put out a good tool to help with that - *** Click here to get the SharePoint Modernization Scanner ***.

I highly recommend that when you download this tool, open up a command-line prompt, and run the exe from there.  The tool will create a few XLSX files in a folder, and if you just double click on the eve, when it finishes, it'll close and you won't see where the files were created.

You have a few options in regards to migrating your workflows to something else, but all them require you to rebuild all your workflows from scratch.  There's a few things to take into account.  The XLSX file, when opened in Excel, will let you filter on a bunch of different values, including when the workflow was last nodified.  Although it'd be better if you knew when it was last executed, it seems SharePoint doesn't store that info.

Recommendation

  1. Filter on SharePoint 2010 workflows
    • remember, this does not mean SharePoint 2010 on-prem, this is a list of your workflows in your SharePoint Online environment, that use the legacy SharePoint 2010 workflow engine.
  2. Make sure you have SharePoint Designer installed and connected to your tenant
  3. Download all the 2010 workflows that you found in that XLSX file.  You may need to make multiple connected via SharePoint Designer, since it connects to a site, not a tenant.
    • This is a precautionary step.  I'll go more into this later.
  4. Put together a plan to understand the workflows
    • It might be easier, since you know which sites the workflows are located in and what lists. 
    • Meet with the departments that use those sites, to see if these workflows are being used
    • Prioritize the workflows based on usage and when the next time it'll be used
    • This will give you an idea of how many workflows and how long it'll take to rebuild those in another system
  5. Now that you have your list of workflows, it might 10 or it might be 500 or more.  This is going to take some time.
    • Consider reaching out to an SI (system integrator) to help out with this.  Yes, there will be a cost, but it will be faster and overall, cheaper to do it that way.

Nintex

Nintex is a great option for moving your workflows to.  It's easy to use interface, means anyone can build workflows, not just developers or techies.  If you a subject matter expert, you can build workflows.

As I mentioned above, in order to move to a different workflow platform, you'll need to rebuild those workflows.  Nintex has taken some steps to at least make it a little easier for you.

The Workflow Converter tool, pictured above, can be downloded here : *** Click Here to get the Workflow Converter ***

It supports both SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows and 2013 workflows.  They can come from SharePoint Online and On-Prem.

In the above screenshot, the converter read a 2010 workflow which had 29 actions in it, and converted it into a Nintex Workflow for Office 365 workflow.  You also have the option to convert it to into a Nintex Workflow (on-prem) and Nintex Workflow Cloud workflow.  Since everyone has different needs at the moment.

The Converter creates the structure of the workflow.  If your workflow has loops, conditions, stages, it will recreate all those into the Nintex Workflow design.  You will still need to configure all the actions.  The benefit of this, is that if you have a lot of workflows to rebuild, this will save you a bunch of time.  If you haven't used Nintex before, this will save you from having to figure out which actions to use, based on the ones you were using your SharePoint Designer workflow.  It will start you off with the skeleton of your workflow, and then you go through the actions.

Interesting Reads

Navigating Microsoft’s end of support for SharePoint 2010 workflows

Preparing for SharePoint 2010 end of support

Converting Your SharePoint 2010 Workflows to Nintex. Fast.

Copyright Vadim Tabakman
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